Janice Marinelli, a noted sales executive who has held several key roles at Disney and was promoted last year to president of Global Content Sales & Distribution, plans to wind down her 34-year run at the company.
The exec’s departure is the latest significant exit as Disney absorbs the bulk of 21st Century Fox, which it acquired in a $71.3 billion deal.
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“It has been an honor to work for this company and a privilege to work with so many outstanding professionals,” Marinelli said. “I’ve observed many changes in our industry over the years, and it is changing at a speed never seen before. While I have been considering this decision for some time, I was committed to seeing our team through the acquisition and integration of 21st Century Fox. Now that we’ve reached these important milestones, I believe the time is right for me to step down.”
Kevin Mayer, chairman of the company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, offered praise of Marinelli. “Janice has contributed immeasurably to Disney over the past three decades, architecting and successfully negotiating thousands of innovative deals that have benefited our company and will continue to do so for years to come,” he said. “I am so grateful for her insightful counsel and steadfast collaboration over the past year as we laid the foundation for DTCI and the upcoming launch of Disney+. I especially appreciate her willingness to stay on and see us through this time of tremendous change.”
In her most recent role, Marinelli oversaw Disney’s program sales operations and distribution of the company’s direct-to-consumer apps to global accounts and broadcasters worldwide. She led the global distribution of film and television programming via a wide array of platforms. The list of platforms included home entertainment, broadcast, digital, SVOD, pay network, Hulu, the Movies Anywhere app and the upcoming Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service Disney+.
Under the direction of Marinelli, teams worked across domestic and international media markets, providing content created by Disney’s Studio Entertainment and Media Networks groups. Under her direction, the division has distributed titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Animation, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, FX, 20th Century Fox Television, Disney Channel and many more. Partners included broadcasters, digital services and other distributors around the world.
Marinelli oversaw product development and marketing strategies for Disney’s portfolio of brands and franchises across all in-home platforms. Most recently, the in-home division vigorously expanded into the 4K UHD premium format and her team also managed the re-releases of the powerhouse classic titles from the vault as part of The Walt Disney Signature Collection. She also spearheaded Movies Anywhere, a free app and site that has aggregated libraries from Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros., aiming to reduce friction for viewers. She also led negotiations with digital retailers including Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, FandangoNOW, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Comcast Xfinity.
In 1985, Marinelli joined The Walt Disney Co.’s Buena Vista Television as an account executive. She later served as director of sales for the western division before becoming SVP of sales. After subsequent promotions to EVP and president, she was then named president of Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution in 2013, before a promotion to her most recent role in 2018.